Wednesday, April 19, 2017
What To Look For: Valero Texas Open
The Tour makes its way all the way down to San Antonio this week for the 95th Texas Open. The Texas Open dates back all the way to 1922. It wasn't named the Valero Texas Open until 2002 as the Valero Energy Corporation bought out the naming rights to the event back then.
The tournament has always been played in the San Antonio area which usually means a blustering wind and fast conditions. With fast conditions that means that the shorter hitters tend to favor the course over the longer hitters.
Reviews on TPC San Antonio are mixed, but more biased towards the negative side. Some of the holes are a bit too tricky for Tour players' tastes and many of them hate the design of the greens which are often very undulated. The event is now ran by Greg Norman's company, Shark Enterprises, and I have to wonder if they chose the TPC San Antonio design since it more resembles an Australian design that Norman grew up playing.
The 213 yard par-3 3rd hole is a good example of why some players have a disdain for the course.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE PICTURE)
Not only is there water in front of the hole, but it's a difficult up-and-down past the hole. A couple of years ago there was a stiff 35 mph tail wind which made it virtually impossible to stop the ball and players made bogeys left-and-right. It's also the 'most critical' par-3 on Tour...meaning that is has the highest average deviation in score between the field and top finishers of any par-3 on Tour.
Personally, I sorta like the course because it's a different flavor of course than your normal event and it has some beautiful sight lines. Furthermore, the 18th hole is a 'critical hole' and the 17th hole has a substantial deviation in scores as well. So, you can possibly see a lot of drama going on the last 2 holes of the event. It's also an iron player or putter style course given the difficulty of the approach shots and the undulations in the grens.
Projected Winning Score: -9
Matt Kuchar +1,800
Ryan Moore +2,200
Brendan Steele +2,200
Ollie Schniederjans +2,800
Adam Hadwin +2,800
3JACK'S DARK HORSES
Tony Finau +2,800
Byeong Hun-An +5,000
Martin Laird +5,500
Cameron Tringale +12,500
Robert Garrigus +20,000